02nd Sep2013

Interview: Mads Mikkelsen talks ‘Hannibal’

by Phil Wheat


Despite strong skepticism from fans of the original movies, Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal has been a surprising success for NBC, pushing the envelope of what can be seen on traditional US network television. Whilst the series has an excellent pedigree, both in front and behind the screen, the true star of the series is Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Taking on the iconic role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Mikkelsen – probably best known for his villainous role as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale – has broken down all expectations and crafted a new and exciting take on Thomas Harris’ cannibalistic serial killer.

In the first of our new collaborations with AskMen we got to chat with Mikkelsen about the show and his role…

Hannibal, despite the cannibalism, is really likeable in this series. How did you go about making a serial killer so empathetic?

Mads Mikkelsen: I don’t think we’re the first ones to have done that, when you look at Brian Cox and Anthony Hopkins you can’t deny there’s something likeable about them as well. It’s the nature of the character, he’s such a lover of everything refined, he hates everything banal, and there’s something quite charming about that even though what he’s doing is so outrageous.

What do you do to get into that mindset and understand that character?

Hannibal is slightly off the charts in the sense that he’s not a regular psychopath who’s behaving for reasons that happened in his childhood. This man is very different and I’m not even sure he is a man. I often call him the Fallen Angel, he is in love with life but he thinks life is most beautiful when it’s on the threshold of death so that makes him slightly different to everyone else. So in terms of researching cannibals or psychopaths I kind of found that redundant as this is not the classis guy, this is something else.

The series is shot so beautifully, how far would you agree that TV is a more exciting medium than movies at the moment?

Well I mean television is breaking new ground these days, and I’m not a specialist, but there are certain things you get in television and not in films. But I must say, if I was playing a hairdresser, you are bound to see me cut hair or if I play a soccer player you will see me play soccer. In this case, I’m a cannibal and a mass murderer, so obviously you have to see that. If they [the networks] are not ready for that then they shouldn’t have taken on Hannibal I guess.

The murders in the series are really gruesome, which of them did you find the most horrific and what was it like actually interacting with those amazing special effects?

A lot of those horrific scenes I’m not actually a part of, it might be my doing but you don’t see me in the room. But I have seen a couple of things and what the special effects guys do is absolutely fantastic. Even close up to the dummies you cannot tell the difference, it’s quite amazing what they’re doing and obviously it helps us a lot. There is one where I’m giving a Glasgow Smile to Dr Sutcliffe and his head is almost in two parts, it was horrific but I also enjoyed it a lot. It was really amazing what they had done and I couldn’t help laughing!

[SEASON ONE SPOILER ALERT] So it seems that Will knows that Hannibal is the killer now, what does that mean for season two?

Well, it does seem that Will is aware of what is happening, and so far he’s the only one. So, it can go three ways:  he can’t remember anything, that’s one. He can remember and he tells people that he knows, or he knows, but he says that he doesn’t know. So, we have three opportunities and I’m just as curious as you are to see them.

Read the rest of this interview at AskMen.com.

Hannibal – The Complete Season One is out now on DVD and Blu-ray from StudioCanal, order it now at Amazon:


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